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Bistable Mechanism

by BYU_CMR Nov 1, 2018
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I completely understand including logos on someone's hard work....and I know the answer is get a better a printer. But my printer works fine for simple stuff...but just about every time a designer includes writing my printer always messes up to the point I have to cancel the print. If that section was solid instead of having writing I'm confident I could print this. Another way to increase chance of successful print for us with crappy printers is have the lettering just on the top instead of it being in the initial layer (which is the most difficult for cheapo, non heated bed printers. That way if the writing fails, the print is basically complete and usable when it does fail.

Sorry you were having a hard time printing the model. The reason we have included lettering is because people weren't giving credit (as is required under this thing's creative commons license) and producing media claiming it was their own. We want to be able to produce high quality content and that becomes much more difficult if people are stealing and rebranding our ideas.

I would say you need to tune up something on your 3D printer, there's no reason it shouldn't be able to make embossed letters on a solid surface. You want your printer to be able to make everything you can design, right? If you post more info about your printer model and the problems you see, I'm sure the community (here, or elsewhere) can help.

For this specific issue, you should be able to easily modify the file to create your own version with no letters. Also, you should be able to print with either side up, depending on how you orient it in your slicer.

Yes this is common sense, no? That's the exact reason I posted, just to let designers know that there's really no reason to include lettering on both the top and bottom. It really has nothing to do with calibration, just design for ease of print for more people. I get people enjoy calibrating, and storing their filament in temperature and humidity controlled environments and all that. It was a just pointing out that the first layer is the hardest layer, especially without a heated bed...and some filaments just don't seem to want to stick at all. Adding the lettering on the bottom makes flipping it pointless, and also makes a whole bunch of small axis changes...when it could have nice long straight ones. But yes, you could import and stl file and manipulate all the triangles...or stare at your printer for the entire first layer to ensure all is good. For some people that sounds like a great time. I don't even really mind it. But nice smooth first layers when possible seem like good design practice especially when its for lettering that isn't part of the model...and is also on the other side...so not really necessary.

...and yes I fiddled around for an extra half hour and the print came out perfect 1st try...but time is priceless.

I came here from Veritasium :) Saw the video this morning and immediately printed one of these. Prusa i3 mk3, PrusaControl default settings, PLA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfQGLHa4zzw

My love of symmetry wants to it to click against both walls. Can you make one on center that clicks against both walls?

Realize that by it's nature, you can't. It has to be printed 'further' out into space in its open position, in order to have the 'extra' travel on the other way to hit the wall with tension still applied. If it's printed touching the wall in the closed position, there's no way to 'print with tension already in the flex elements' against the closed position.

I'm going to adjust at least the bistable switch so it will work more correctly with less flexible plastics like PLA. There are a few methods that could be used to make a still one piece but with two closed positions switch, so I may go ahead and do that as well.

I would love to have this in 75mm max size because my printer only goes until this.

I printed mine in PLA and it's really fun. I really love the feedback.

this was my very first print on my brand new 3d printer. just used cura auto set to ender 3, clicked process, saved to the memory stick, stuck in my ender 3 printer and hit print. using amazon basics PLA filament. works perfectly and was an amazing first print. so easy. my issue now is trying to figure out an easier way to get the prints off of the print surface. they stick too well. going to print the pliers now (had to scale up 1600%) will see how that turns out. then will make the elephant.

Try putting the build plate in the freezer for a while. Glass and PLA has different thermal expansion coefficients so they separate and adhesion bonds break.

Tried making a smaller one since shrinking your design did not work. https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3494302

While I did get it to work. It seems like there is a bit more nuence to designing this properly.

Was this done in AutoCAD by the way?

Also what calculation did you do to calculate the right angle and thickness? Is there a recommended reading? Aside from that nice job.

Bistable Mechanism Minified Fidget Toy

We just uploaded a version that uses less filament. Hope that helps!

There are a variety of calculations including geometry and material considerations. We hope to provide some design guideline references in the future.

Printed with ABS, Zortrax m200.
0.4 nozzle, 0.29 layer thickness, 20% infill.
Unfortunately it did not click.
The arms were attached correctly.

I will try some different settings.
Any advice on ABS?

Scaled up: 110%
Same settings, now the mechanism works.

Me too I saw the Veristablium, but I don't have a 3D printer machine, I'm just interested in buying the switch print that is strangely satisfying.

I do hypnosis, and I'm looking for a toy that people could snap in and out to make a connection in there mind.

Could someone sell me one print ?


I will print you one for the right price. There are also online venders who will do custom prints for you. Some libraries and schools are starting to carry printers too.

did anyone get back to you on this?


which parameter change the travel distance, want to put this mechanism into a switch

Saw the Video and now I'm here :)
what layer height did u guys use ?

could you share a link please? I'm so curious to know what this does.

Also here from Veristablium, printing now.

You mean Dirk from Veristablum sent you here? Me too!

Always nice to meet a fellow Tim :)

Good to see you here.....Tim....


Here because of Veritasium as well. Absolutely love this print. So oddly satisfying. In the third picture is a different model that I would like to be able to print as well but I do not see a file available for it. Would love to print that and the Elephant! Thank you so much for sharing, these are truly unique!

The elephant is now available! https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3491887

"Wyrd" Elephant Compliant Mechanism

Is there any reason this or your other models could not be laser cut from plastic? Can you recommend a laser-able material?

Hey! Actually most of these types of prototypes are CNC milled out of a flat sheet of polypropylene. We've simply created the 3D STL version so it can be easily made with 3D printing since most people don't have desktop CNCs, laser cutters, or water jets. :)

Wow, this is incredibly satisfying to play with. Any chance you could upload the elephant model?

The elephant is now available! https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3491887

"Wyrd" Elephant Compliant Mechanism

Awesome, thanks for following up! printing it now :)

Glad you weren't disappointed! We'll be uploading the elephant and other models in the near future, so check back with us soon :)

Also here from Veritasium... Should I be worried that the arms do not seem to fully attach on Slic3r?

Turning off 'detect thin walls' in Slic3r made the arms attach for me. A bit counterintuitive, but....

Mine were attached in Cura.

Make sure horizontal expansion is off.
(EDIT: off OR set to 0)

This could be a problem. You may also consider scaling it up slightly until your software recognizes the arms as thick enough to print. However, if you make them too thick, you'll lose the bistable ability.

This is the future of printing! Printing mine now. Thanks for sharing this!!

If you use Slic3r PE, disable "detect thin walls" as mentioned above.

Came here thanks to Veritasium! This is really awesome

Haha, me too! thought more people would be here by now.